Three years ago, I did a crazy thing. Well, crazier than the usual crazy things I do.
I decided to give NaNoWriMo a try. For those who may not remember, NaNoWriMo is a promise to produce a 50,000 word novel in the period between the 1st of November and the 30th of November.
I actually did it. It has since been destroyed because it was probably the worst piece of crap I've ever seen, but by golly it had a beginning, a middle and an end. It had a plot. It had conflict and resolution. It had humor and angst. It just had crappy...I mean abominable...dialog.
There is a reason why I write journal entries and theatrical reviews. I can write those. I can't write fiction.
One reason I can't write fiction is that I have no imagination. All of my ideas are very concrete, reality-based. I even have difficulty creating some nice fantasy in my mind when I'm dozing off. My thoughts are based on the here and now, and that does not make for a good fiction writer. Fiction writers carry around notebooks to jot down plot ideas and are always bursting with stories that they want to tell...or perhaps that one big story they want to tell.
As I wrote my fiction story in 2003, it began as fiction and quickly lapsed into reality with the names changed to protect the innocent. I was extremely dissatisfied with it and it didn't do my self esteem a heck of a lot of good when it was finished.
The one thing I have always been able to do is write. It's what I do in times of crisis, angst, sorrow, elation, and boredom. What NaNoWriMo taught me is that there is an area of writing which I cannot do. An area of writing where I am positively terrible.
So naturally, I've decided to try it again this year! My ego hasn't had a good pummeling in two years and it's about time to remind it why I'm a rotten fiction writer.
But, gee...all the cool kids are doing it! Mary's done it several years now.
Spread out over a month, 50,000 is the word equivalent of writing two journal entries a day. Heck, I can do that. In fact, I sometimes do do that in a day.
But there is no flow in these entries, one to the other. No plot. Not dialog.
The difference between 2004 and 2007 is that in 2004 I had an idea. I had a socko opening and a great ending and that left only about 49,000 words to write. Piece o'cake.
This time I have no idea, no opening and no ending and the full 50,000 words to write... I also have a whole slew of shows to review, at least one feature article to write, and Thanksgiving to get through while I'm writing 50,000 words. So, naturally I have done the intelligent thing:
There is also Michele's memorial service to plan.
I often think of the Pinata group as a herd of elephants, led by the matriarchs, who all crowd around to support each other and each other's children. We are planning a gathering at the home of one of Char's kids. I spoke with Michele's son about my putting together a slide show. Char is talking with people about food and we will all bring lots of food and drink. Some 100 people might attend.
We are all doing what each of us usually does at times like this. We step into the roles without having to ask much. We just do it.
The kids are coming too. Char's son is flying out from Maryland, Jeri is flying home from Boston, Tom is driving up from Santa Barbara.
It wasn't until I started talking and writing about Michele's memorial that it all really hit me. We are talking about Michele's Memorial service, goddammit! This was a hard day. But I decided to get out of the house and run some errands, which helped a lot.